Alexandria Theft Lawyer
Despite the downward trend in theft-related crimes in Alexandria, it is still important to be aware of how the Commonwealth of Virginia defines and charges these offenses, as well as the potential penalties involved. We provide a brief overview of the laws below, but only an experienced Alexandria theft lawyer can explain how the law may apply to the facts in your case.
Alexandria Theft-related Statistics
A quick check into Alexandria’s crime records reveals a slow and steady downward trend in theft-related offenses in recent years. The Alexandria Police Crime Report Search is an online database of crimes occurring within the City, as reported by law enforcement using the FBI’s National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
Crimes can be retrieved by date, block location and offense classification. Case number, report date and disposition (i.e., pending, arrest, open, report, telephone report) are also included. Certain information is not made available to the public, such as victims’ identities and addresses. Theft-related crime statistics retrieved from the city’s database for 2013 include 246 burglary, 110 robbery, 2,468 larceny and 266 motor vehicle theft cases. Since 2010, burglary decreased by 29% (317), robbery by 14% (125), larceny by 7% (2,639) and motor vehicle theft by 7.7 % (286).
Grand Larceny – Felony
In Virginia, larceny, burglary, and robbery are the three categories in which most theft-related crimes fall. Larceny is the intentional taking of someone’s property without obtaining consent from that owner. In these situations, the offender has no intentions of returning the stolen property, thereby permanently denying the owner its possession.
Grand larceny is a felony punishable for up to 20 years in prison, while petit larceny is a misdemeanor carrying up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. The distinction between the two types of larceny lies in the value of the stolen property. Grand larceny involves theft of something valued at $5 or more, taken directly from the owner’s person, or the theft of something valued at $500 or more taken from somewhere other than the owner’s person, or theft of a gun of any value. See Virginia Code Section 18.2-95.
Petit Larceny – Misdemeanor (Unless Habitual)
Petit larceny is the same as grand larceny, except the value for direct theft from the owner’s person is less than $5, any other stolen items (not taken directly from the owner) is valued below $500, and gun theft does not apply. See Section 18.2-96. Repeat offenders of petit larceny may receive a stiffer penalty than the one issued for the first offense. A second misdemeanor larceny-related conviction can bring a sentence of 30 days to a year in prison, while a third prior larceny-related convictions constitute a class 6 felony that could carry one to five years in prison. A jury or court could reduce the class 6 penalty to up to twelve (12) months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.
Conspiracy, Concealment and Intent to Sell or Distribute
Conspiring and concealing can also land a perpetrator in jail. Colluding, instructing or helping someone steal something valued at $500 or more constitutes the felony of conspiring to commit larceny, which carries the same grand larceny penalty of one to 20 years in prison. Even the act of concealing merchandise (i.e., shoplifting) while still in the store is considered theft, as the concealment is evidence of the offender’s intent to steal.
Larceny with the intent to sell and larceny with the intent to distribute may bring felony convictions punishable by two to 20 years in prison. When an offender steals something to sell that’s valued at $500 or more, he or she may face the charge of larceny with the intent to sell. Additionally, if he or she steals multiple items of the same kind, charges of larceny with the intent to distribute may be imposed. If the perpetrator actually sells stolen property, he or she may be found guilty of a class 5 felony, which carries one to 10 years in prison.
Robbery & Carjacking in Alexandria
Robbery is an act of theft that involves violence, such as choking, beating, striking, assaulting, causing fear of bodily injury, or threatening (i.e., brandishing) to use a deadly weapon. It is a felony punishable by five years to life in prison. If, however, carjacking is involved—in which a perpetrator intentionally deprives an owner of his vehicle (or its control) temporarily or permanently with the same threat or act of —a conviction can bring a prison sentence of 15 years to life.
Attempts to Commit Robbery and Larceny
When an act of theft is clearly attempted but not fully executed, the perpetrator can still face conviction and punishment. For example:
- Two to 10 years in prison is the penalty for attempting to rob or carjack a victim, both of which constitute class 4 felonies. A possible fine of up to $100,000 may be added.
- One to 10 years in prison is the penalty for attempted grand larceny and attempted larceny with the intent to distribute, which are Class 5 felonies. A court or jury can downgrade the penalty to twelve (12) months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
- Attempted sale of stolen property (and attempted theft of certain animals) is a Class 6 felony carrying one to five years in prison, unless a jury or court reduces the penalty to twelve months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Burglary, Statutory Burglary, and Burglarious Tools
Breaking and entering into a home at night with the intent to steal or commit a felony constitutes common law burglary, which is a Class 3 felony that could land the offender in prison for 5 to 20 years and cost as much as $100,000 in fines. If an offender possessed a deadly weapon during the commission of a burglary, he would face a Class 2 felony that carries an enhanced penalty of 20 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Statutory burglary involves a different set of circumstances, which might include either of the following scenarios: 1). entering without breaking during the night, 2). breaking and entering during the day, 3). entering and hiding in a home or attached building, or 4). entering with or without breaking and hiding in a place where people .
If a perpetrator commits either of these four actions with the intent to murder, rape, rob or start a fire, he or she is guilty of a Class 3 felony carrying five to 20 years in prison with a fine that could reach $100,000. Committing either of the above four acts with the intention to steal or commit a felony (other than murder, rape, robbery or arson) carries a penalty of one to 20 years in . Actions falling within one of the above four scenarios (or breaking and entering at night), while also having intentions to commit assault and battery, triggers a penalty of one to 20 years in prison for this statutory burglary conviction. If any of the four scenarios described above involves the use of a deadly weapon to commit statutory burglary, the perpetrator will automatically face a Class 2 felony carrying 20 years to life in prison.
Possessing burglarious tools such as a crowbar or wrench (or an outfit) during the commission of a burglary, robbery or larceny may earn the perpetrator a conviction for a Class 5 felony carrying a prison sentence of one to ten years. If you have been accused of shoplifting, burglary, robbery, carjacking or larceny in Alexandria, you should hire an Alexandria theft defense attorney to protect your rights. Being charged with any theft-related crime can carry serious consequences in the form of a costly fine, lengthy prison sentence or both.
Even when a burglar’s intentions are not particularly egregious, repercussions under Virginia law can be still be serious. If a perpetrator intends to commit a misdemeanor (other than trespassing or assault and battery) when breaking and entering an occupied residence, he will face the Class 6 felony conviction of breaking and entering with intent to commit other . If the defendant was not armed, he or she may receive a penalty of one to five years in prison. However, if he is armed with a deadly weapon, he will receive a much harsher sentence of 20 years to life in prison, if convicted.
Call an experienced Alexandria theft lawyer from our firm for a free consultation.